Sir Alex Ferguson turned 70 today. In the midst of the celebrations and congratulations, he set the deadline for his departure from Old Trafford. Three years and that will be end of the 'Fergie' era.
One of the greatest managers of all time, his consistent desire and commitment places him head and shoulders above his contemporaries.
We all have our own opinions on who should replace the great man, but who actually is the best equipped?
1. The new manager must command the respect of his players.
2. He must have the desire to be the best.
3. He must have a proven track record.
4. He must understand the importance of the club's ethos.
5. He must understand the importance of youth.
6. He must be shrewd in the transfer market.
7. He has to enjoy the life of a football manager.
8. He must understand what a privilege it is to manage Manchester United.
The only manager on the list to play for the club, Blanc understands the spirit of Manchester United.
The Frenchman was nicknamed Le Président at Marseille due to his leadership skills and Blanc's first act as the France manager was to suspend all 23 players from the 2010 World Cup debacle.
Ultimately, the man has a solid character. He led Bordeaux to the League and Cup double in his second season and narrowly lost out in the Manager of the Year award.
In terms of management style, Blanc is quite similar to his compatriot Arsene Wenger. He is calm, cool and collected. A trait that was epitomized by Wenger in his early years at Arsenal.
Maybe Manchester United need to move in a new direction and replace Sir Alex with a more placid figure.
Ancelotti, with his ever-erect eyebrow, has won everything in the game as a player and manager.
His record, however, as a manager is not as pristine as some think. In his 16 years of management he has only won the League twice but does have as many Champions League medals as Sir Alex.
A student under the great Arrigo Sacchi at Milan, Ancellotti went on to lead the Rossoneri to eight trophies in eight years.
He is not a favorite to United fans, but he would be more than adept to take over the reins.
Before Carlos Queiroz was appointed assistant manager in 2002, Moyes was Sir Alex's first choice. After Ferguson's retirement plans were scrapped in that same year, he agreed to stay for at least three years.
This period was to groom Moyes into the next Manchester United manager. If there is one man who has the character of Sir Alex, it is David Moyes.
The man from Glasgow has turned a mediocre club into a team where anything but a Europe League finish is a disappointment. He does, however, lack the trophies and physical credentials.
David Moyes at a club with money would be a match made in heaven.
Mourinho is a phenomenon. A manager with absolutely no playing experience who then goes on to become one of the most successful is unprecedented.
Both Sir Alex and Mourinho talk affectionately about each other like man and wife. The stage seems set for Mourinho at Old Trafford. But is he the best equipped?
One of the best. He has the character, the credentials and desire to become Manchester United's next manager.
He does lack one trait and it's possibly the most important—he doesn't understand the ethos of the club. Players brought up at United are thought to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Mourinho is neither.
The best equipped manager to replace Sir Alex Ferguson.
Pep Guardiola fits the bill like a glove. An FC Barcelona manager must understand the club's history and ethos. He must understand the importance of youth. He must understand what a privilege it is to be manager.
Guardiola does all these things.
It's not a case of getting the manager who keeps beating you. It's a case of getting the manager who will turn the club into a winner once again.